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Women's World Cup: New Zealand Women's Team Profile

Having failed to make a huge impression at this tournament in the past, New Zealand will hope their position as co-hosts can inspire better in 2023.

However, they are 16 spots below co-hosts Australia and with both history and form against them, the Football Ferns could struggle to stand out on their own stage.

New Zealand's World Cup record:

New Zealand are regulars at the Women's World Cup, qualifying for six of the last nine tournaments, including the last five in a row.

However, their dominance within Oceania doesn't translate to this tournament. The Football Ferns are yet to make it out of the group stage, winning none of their 15 games at the World Cup.

New Zealand have scored only eight times across those 15 games and they have shipped 34 goals in return. Four years ago in France, they lost to the Netherlands, Canada and Cameroon.

How New Zealand qualified:

New Zealand qualified for the tournament as co-hosts, meaning they've been playing friendly matches in the build-up to this tournament.

However, those warm-up clashes haven't exactly gone to plan for the Football Ferns. The co-hosts are on a 10-game winless run ahead of their opener, something they're hoping to fix in their final friendly game ahead of their first clash against Norway.

The Football Ferns tend to have a fairly routine time in World Cup qualifying, with the OFC Women's Nations Cup serving as the qualifying tournament. New Zealand won that competition four times in a row before missing out having already qualified for this summer's World Cup.

The Football Ferns won all five games at the 2018 edition, scoring 43 times without conceding. They sealed the trophy with an 8-0 victory over Fiji in the final, so they likely would have made this tournament even without hosting.

However, their pre-tournament warm-ups have shown the gap between them and many of the top sides, having started 2023 with 4-0 and 5-0 home defeats to the United States.

The Manager - Jitka Klimkova

Ex-Czech Republic international Jitka Klimkova took charge of New Zealand in 2021 having previously been at the helm of the country's under-17 set-up.

She was also the assistant boss of the senior side in 2014 and seven years later she returned to become the first-ever full-time female boss of the Football Ferns.

The former defender broke through as a manager with Czech side Slovacko, establishing them as the third biggest side behind Sparta and Slavia Prague. A switch to Australia to Canberra United followed and she built up a wealth of experience as under-19 and under-20 coach of the United States between 2015 and 2019.

Confirmed New Zealand Squad:

New Zealand are yet to name their squad for the Women's World Cup, as they give 127-cap Annalie Longo time to return from a serious knee injury.

Here is the squad selected in her absence earlier this year.

Goalkeepers: Erin Nayler (IFK Norrkoping), Brianna Edwards (Bankstown City), Murphy Sheaff (Jacksonville Dolphins)

Defenders: Kate Taylor (Wellington Phoenix), Claudia Bunge (Melbourne Victory), CJ Bott (Leicester City), Meikayla Moore (Glasgow City), Ali Riley (Angel City), Michaela Foster (Wellington Phoenix), Katie Bowen (Melbourne City), Grace Neville (London City Lionesses), Mackenzie Barry (Wellington Phoenix), Elizabeth Anton (Perth Glory)

Midfielders: Malia Steinmetz (Western Sydney Wanderers), Daisy Cleverley (Koge), Olivia Chance (Celtic), Betsy Hassett (Wellington Phoenix), Ava Collins (St John's Red Storm)

Forwards: Gabi Rennie (Arizona State Sun Devils), Grace Jale (Canberra United), Paige Satchell (Wellington Phoenix), Hannah Wilkinson (Melbourne City), Indiah-Page Riley (Brisbane Roar)

New Zealand's Key Players:

Four of New Zealand's highest-capped women are still active and hoping to make the World Cup, including 161-cap Ria Percival.

The Tottenham Hotspur player suffered a knee injury in April 2022 but she could add to her record number of appearances at a home World Cup.

Annalie Longo is another who suffered a serious injury but the 31-year-old has said she intends to play through pain at the tournament if it comes to that.

The Christchurch United player will play a big part in the Football Ferns' fortunes if she can get on the pitch.

Striker Hannah Wilkinson will be the player they look to for goals, as she is the highest international scorer in this group. With 28 goals in 113 appearances, the Melbourne City forward should lead the line at this tournament.

New Zealand's Group fixtures:

Group A:
New Zealand vs Norway, Auckland, 20th July 2023
New Zealand vs Philippines, Wellington, 25th July 2023
Switzerland vs New Zealand, Dunedin, 30th July 2023

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